Cooks for Kids Volunteer Meal Program

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NOTICE: In response to Covid- 19, RMHC-UM has paused its 10,000-strong volunteer program

Meal calendars are open for groups to sign up for a future meal date. We are grateful for the many groups that have continued to celebrate significant dates by providing for our families. Rest assured, we will contact you in advance to let you know if the onsite pause remains in effect. For questions or to be notified of program reinstatement updates, please email Taylor Olson.

Cooks for Kids: A fun and impactful way to support families

Our cornerstone meal program, Cooks for Kids (CFK), is a fun and impactful way to for volunteers to support families with a seriously-ill or injured child. 

Groups range in size from 3 – 15, depending on location, and purchase, prepare and serve a buffet-style meal of their choice.

The meals prepared by volunteers nourished our souls in the way only food prepared with love can.

Mother of a child hospitalized at Children's Minnesota, Minneapolis

Cooks for Kids 5 Steps

Gather a groupof friends, family, co-workers

Choose your locationBased on the size of your group

Check thE location’s meal calendar Register for an open date

Decide on a menu and purchase ingredientsSee what others are serving

Prep and serve your mealFamilies so appreciate it

Our Five Minnesota Locations

Ronald McDonald House
Oak Street, Mpls
Near the U of MN Campus
Ronald McDonald House on Oak Street kitchen

621 Oak St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Parking and Arrival Instructions

  • 10–15 volunteers
  • 50–60 served on weeknights
  • 30–40 served on weekends
Ronald McDonald House
Children's MN, Mpls
On the hospital's third floor
Ronald McDonald House in Children's MN Mpls kitchen

2525 Chicago Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Parking and Arrival Instructions

  • 8–10 volunteers
  • 125–150 served on weeknights
  • 60–70 served on weekends
Ronald McDonald Family Room
Gillette, St. Paul
Inside Region's Hospital
Ronald McDonald Family Room in Gillette kitchen

640 Jackson St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Parking and Arrival Instructions

  • 3–6 volunteers
  • 40–50 served on weeknights
  • 35–40 served on weekends
Ronald McDonald Family Room
Children's MN, St. Paul
Adjacent to United Hospital
Ronald McDonald Family Room in Children's MN St. Paul kitchen

345 North Smith Ave. |  River Tower 3rd floor St. Paul, MN 55101
Parking and Arrival Instructions

  • 3–6 volunteers
  • 50–60 served on weeknights
  •  35–40 served on weekends
Ronald McDonald House
Northland, Duluth
Near Essentia Health
Ronald McDonald House Northland kitchen

503 East 3rd Street
Duluth, MN 55805

Parking and Arrival Instructions

  • 2–3 volunteers
  • 10 served on weeknights
  •  10 served on weekends

Our Kitchen Set-ups

Our kitchens are fully stocked with everything you’ll need to prepare a meal, including pots and pans, mixing bowls, Crockpots, blenders, cooking utensils, cutting boards, baking sheets, measuring cups and spoons, plates and cups, silverware, etc.

Feel free to contact your chosen location to inquire about the number of ovens and stoves that site has, as well as the supply of condiments and staples you may be able to use. Note that RMH-Oak Street has two gas grills; the four hospital-based sites do not have grills. Main desk phone numbers for each location:

  • RMH-Oak Street: 612.331.5752
  • RMH, Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis: 612.874.4800
  • RMFR, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul: 651.726.2820
  • RMFR, Children’s Minnesota, St. Paul: 651.220.5160
  • RMH Northland, Duluth: 218.576.0865

Cooks for Kids Menu Center

Cooks for Kids Menu Submission

Please provide us with your planned menu below.

 

 

 

Confirmed Menus by Location

Check out what other groups are serving close to your CFK date

Commitment Policy

Families consistently tell us that complimentary meals are the one thing they appreciate most about the Ronald McDonald House. To ensure we fulfill our promise of providing dinner every night and brunch on weekends, please review our Commitment Policy.

Meal groups that are unable to provide a committed meal with less than 14 days’ notice will be asked to do one of the following:

  • Provide for a catered meal to be delivered to the site
  • Donate $300-$500, depending on site, to cover the cost of a meal
  • Immediately sign up for an urgently needed meal at one of our four sites

Parking and Arrival Instructions

Food drop-off and parking information for your location. Click on a location name to view information.

Ronald McDonald House–Oak Street

  • Parking is available in our two on-site lots: the administrative lot off Fulton Street SE via Kelsey Lane (alley) and the back lot on Ontario Street SE, which is a one-way street accessible via the East River Parkway.
  • If both RMH parking lots are full, meter parking may be available on Fulton Street; in addition, one hour parking available may be available on Ontario Street. The administrative parking lot often has openings after 5pm, so volunteers may be able to move their cars at that time.
  • Note: RMH-Oak Street is located adjacent to the University of Minnesota’s busy east bank campus, where parking can be a challenge, so we strongly encourage carpooling.
  • Arrival instructions: All house doors are locked, so upon arrival use the call box to identify yourself/your group. RMH staff will unlock the door and direct you to the Program Office to check in.
  • If you are dropping off food: Pull into the semi-circle driveway at 621 Oak St SE, temporarily park your car, and use the call box to announce your arrival. A staff member will give you a cart to transport food to the CFK kitchen. After unloading your food, proceed to one of two RMH parking lots or street parking to park your car.
  • If you arrive after 5pm: The administrative office closes at 5pm so you will not be able to enter the building via that door. Please enter the building via the Ontario parking lot door or the main front door located at 621 Oak Street SE.

Ronald McDonald House inside Children's Minnesota, Minneapolis

  • If you are dropping off food: Pull into the front roundabout of Children’s Hospital (2525 Chicago Avenue South), temporarily park your vehicle, enter the hospital and stop at the Welcome Desk to get a Visitor’s badge (note: you will need a valid ID) and the RMH cart found adjacent to the Welcome Desk. Load your food on to the cart and have someone in your group bring it to RMH on the 3rd floor of the hospital while you park your car. After parking, proceed to RMH on the 3rd floor. Parking is available in both ramps attached to the hospital (Blue/Green ramps).
  • If you are not dropping off food but are part of the meal group: Park your car and proceed to the 2nd floor Welcome Desk to get a Visitor’s badge (note: you will need a valid ID). Take the elevator to the 3rd floor where the Ronald McDonald House is located. If you have not pre-registered, you will be asked to register in our volunteer database system upon arrival at RMH. This process takes about five minutes.
  • Parking vouchers will be provided to all volunteers.

Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul

  • Drive to the Regions Hospital/Gillette West Parking Ramp at 640 Jackson St., St. Paul 55101.
  • Proceed to Level D (the Gillette Entrance) and temporarily park your car(s) in the Valet Parking area.
  • Enter the hospital, proceed to the right and follow signs to the Ronald McDonald Family Room to retrieve a cart to transport your food.
  • Park your car in a permanent space after delivering your food to our facility.
  • Parking vouchers will be provided to all volunteers.

Ronald McDonald Family Room–Children's Minnesota, St. Paul

  • If you are dropping off food: Pull into the roundabout at the Mother Baby Center (345 N. Smith Ave). You may leave your car there for 10-15 minutes. Sign in at the Welcome Center (note: you will need a valid ID). Unload your food on the provided cart and proceed to the 3rd floor of the River Tower, where the Ronald McDonald Family Room is located. Return to your car and park in the Red ramp.
  • If you are not dropping off food but are part of the meal group: Park your car in the Red ramp just off the roundabout at the Mother Baby Center. Take the Red Ramp elevators to the 2nd floor. Turn right outside of the elevator and proceed to the Welcome Center where you’ll sign in (valid ID required). Tell staff you are here for the Ronald McDonald Family Room and they will direct you to the River Tower elevators. Proceed to the 3rd floor and turn left upon exiting the elevator.
  • Parking vouchers will be provided to all volunteers.

Ronald McDonald House Northland, Duluth

  • Food Drop-Off: The day of your meal, please call 218.461.8999 and let the House Manager know your expected time of arrival, as well as any special requests (preheat ovens, etc). If you need assistance, or a cart, please call 218.461.8999 to have a staff member or volunteer assist you.
  • Parking: You may park in the RMH-owned lot off the alley. Once you are parked, then you may call the house to request a cart or assistance. You will not need any parking voucher or validation.